*image is under the copyright of Rupajiwa
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I once did an assignment for a rich client at their home. Some parts of the house caught my attention because it displays some intentions of a good design and it invoked me to extend the conversation with the client beyond the perimeter of the assignment. The client shared some information that I don’t really care a lot (because they are rich, they can do whatever they want) but one did really get me thinking. One of the sons is currently studying at AA and if you guys are not from the architectural circle, it is one of or the most prestigious school of architecture in the world – Architectural Association. The client even claimed that the son is currently the best student over there.
I shared the information with a friend who later said exactly what I was thinking. The riches will always become richer. Even my boss said an almost similar situation. He found out (not sure which one is his source, either from print or TV) that in the near future, the riches will come from a background of a well-do family. Little are needed for me to elaborate this scenario.
What am I trying to say? I’m a guy who loves to relate things. I’m the type who always associates events by rounded sequential timing such as “that event happened (the rounded sequential timing is placed here e.g. 1 day/ 2 days/ 1 week/ 2 weeks/ 1 month/ 1 year/ 2 years) ago”. Or I would relate to a certain proportion such as the roof is 3.5 meter high and then I would relate it with a proportion that I know such as an average person is 1.7m tall so I would multiply it until it reaches the nearest to that said quantity (or any average door is 2.1m). Or what about the speed of an aircraft or an F1 car? Then I would relate it with the normal speed I drive when I go to work each morning.
When I was a little boy growing up in Skudai, the biggest house to me was the double storey Semi-D just up north the street in the housing estate I was living in. The nicest bus was the express bus to Singapore. The most happening place is at Komtar in the city center or the richest person I ever know is one towkay who owns 3 cars parked within the compound of his 2.5m high stainless-steel-fenced house (you can try elevate another 40cm upwards from the average door height, where 40cm is slightly longer than the average ruler you normally use on your desk – that in mind if you still remember the average of door height, don’t you?).
Why am I doing this? It helps me placing myself in this rapidly changing world. 200 years ago, there’s no car that would travel 300km/h so everyone at that time is comfortable with the pace of the rest of them. Nowadays, a selected few (or illegal racers who selected themselves) have experienced such speed on land. My point is, that’s why I am always relating things with a benchmark that I’m familiar with so that I wouldn’t be lost walking amongst those disproportionate figure (your fortune, maybe).
Now, almost everything is running out of proportion to me. I’ve worked on building villas worth millions of ringgit. A friend of mine is driving a posh car where I am still struggling maintaining my monthly mortgage. A young fella driving his GTI next to my 8 year old Wira easily sped off after the light turned green when my car still having problem ( after having it replaced twice!) shifting its automatic gear. Or how about being able to send your maid to UK just to accompany your son plays Playstation when he’s down with the heavy pressure of architectural study? From my proportion – who also studied architecture but only managed to afford a cup of instant noodle a day (A DAY!), to me it was ridiculous!
Anyway, I was smoking by the corridor at the 1st floor this morning, where in front of me is the top part of a tree (normal floor to floor height of a building = 3.3m to 3.8m, in case you want to relate the height I was standing) and I saw a beautiful green bird was feeding itself. Being beautiful is one thing but what attracted me was the act of the bird looking all round – left, right, back and even paused a while looking straight at me as if it tried to be cautious of its surrounding. Immediately I was thinking, why didn’t the bird look further upward or downward where if there’s any possible predator for him, it would definitely comes from those directions.
Immediately too, it reminds me, metaphorically, of us as human being that we always tend to forget the position we’re in as we only seek awareness only around us where as there’s always a person up there no matter how up high are you (or down there watching from below) waiting for the perfect opportunity to surprise you (for good or for bad).
Damn, I love how the surrounding teaches you.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Iskandar Putri gets us together on a fine weekend, equipped with the essential gears and knowledge we have learned about our surroundings especially its built environment. We had a briefing the night we arrived for us to have a clear view of what we want to capture. We started early in the morning, tracking the heritage trail guided by our primer source.
As I observed and as a boy growing up in this city, it was a major disappointing to learn that the busy city I used to live in has now slowly reaching its death. I can feel the emptiness of it as I have once lived here and know how it was used to be. All of us had a fairly useful discussion about what has happened and ways to turn it around. In my opinion based on the facts by my source, it all goes down to political interference and interest that goes over the good judgement for the betterment of the city dwellers.
I'm not sure but do these high ranking people who occupy the seats really have a heart for the city and its dwellers or is just about their pocket that matters? This is an unofficial effort (though it was unclear at first but we hope that it will at least weigh a certain magnitude) of us, young architects to capture the heart of Johor Bahru. Though, my images still fail to capture the very essence of the city of Johor Bahru.
Anyway, let us save Iskandar Putri.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
The first "From The Light Box" series. Hope there will be future content for this series since I've been working hard in setting up the light box. Thanks to Mohd. Alias Khairuddin for lending me this beautiful radio.
Further information about this radio at www.magno-design.com